Archives for August 2010

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August 31, 2010

Is the hotel-room telephone obsolete?

Is the hotel-room telephone obsolete? Apparently not. USA Today reports.

quotemarksright.jpg According to Jon Inge, an independent hotel technology consultant who discussed hotel telephones' future in a blog post earlier this year, says they won't disappear just yet.

The biggest sticking point has to do with safety, he says. Hotels face a legal requirement that if a guest calls 911 for help, the hotel must be able to tell which room she or he is calling from and right now a traditional phone is the cheapest, most reliable way to go, he says.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

Related: - Some hotels serve up free phone calls

emily | 10:17 PM | permalink

Invisible Bracelet Launches Nationwide Emergency Medical Notification Text Messaging Service


So many health related cell phone applications today. Here's yet another one. Invisible Bracelet (iB) is a virtual medical ID that allows its members to share important health information during emergencies with first responders.

The Invisible Bracelet can notify up to 10 emergency contacts of medical transport.

Read full press release

emily | 9:46 PM | permalink

CU's Green Buildings Bad For Cell Phone Reception

Sometimes going green comes with a price. Green buildings on the University of Colorado campus in Boulder may be good for the environment, but they're bad for cell phone reception. Students say many buildings are dead zones. DenverChannel reports.

quotemarksright.jpg The university did an analysis of cell phone signals. It found in 14 newer buildings on campus, the ones designed to be energy efficient and environmentally friendly posed the biggest cell phone reception problems.

"In some of our LEED-certified buildings there was weaker coverage that you might expect," said CU IT spokesman Greg Stauffer. "We think that may be due to film coverings on windows that filter out certain waves and that can affect cell phone coverage."quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 9:40 PM | permalink

Phones, Calculator Give a Glimpse of Mobile Tech in Afghanistan

Picture2-660x441.jpeg Wired on Afghanistan’s cellphone ecosystem, one of the country’s economic bright spots. There are about 12.5 million cellular subscriptions in the country of 27 million people.

quotemarksright.jpg Jan Chipchase, executive creative director at Frog Design (formerly everyone's favorite globetrotter-world-observer at Nokia) spent some time in Afghanistan recently for a research study on mobile banking.

In Afghanistan most cellphone users have pre-paid mobile accounts but not ATM cards (only 3 percent of the country has bank accounts) so mobile banking will take the form of SIM cards that are pre-loaded with credit and distributed to re-sellers. But that presents some major challenges. In most other countries, transporting the SIM cards and securing them would be a simple matter. That’s not the case in a war-torn environment not known for its safety, says Chipchase.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 5:12 PM | permalink

Burning Man's Open Source Cell Phone System

CIO describes a solar-powered, low-cost, open source cellular network for coverage in underprivileged and off-grid spots, using VoIP yet working with existing cell phones.

It was used at Burning Man, an nnual art event and temporary community based on radical self expression and self-reliance in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada.

emily | 4:54 PM | permalink

IPhone Users Prefer Chicken While Android Users Prefer Pork

We already knew from one study that iPhone owners have more sex partners than Blackberry and Android owners, now we learn that Android users are manly-scented, pork-eating, news-reading, bird lovers, while iPhone users are feminine-smelling, chicken-eating, entertainment-reading fish owners. [via Cellular News]

quotemarksright.jpg That's according to data published by that highlights differences between the discount coupons selected by iPhone users and Android users.

The data was pulled by analyzing coupon usage via the company's Grocery iQ shopping list application, for the period Jan 1, 2010 to July 31, 2010.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

emily | 3:18 PM | permalink

Baby Monitoring Wireless Onesie Pajamas

69055-lo_res_LIZ8337_thumb.jpeg Medgadget reports on baby clothing that can monitor heart rate, "emotional state", and level of activity, and relay that information wirelessly to a computer or cell phone.

quotemarksright.jpg Each Exmobaby onesie will come with a baby-safe, rechargeable Zigbee wireless transceiver that snaps into a pouch. From there, the data is transmitted to a nearby PC or cell phone in order to keep parents and other caregivers informed of a baby's status. This continuous monitoring in real time will allow for an 'emotional umbilical cord' between mother and child."

Exmobaby parents will be able to see icons representing their baby's heartbeat, emotional state and activity level on their cell phones.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full press release.

emily | 2:57 PM | permalink

iPhone app to replace the stethoscope

iStethoscopeiPhoneApp.jpg The iPhone could replace the stethoscope as millions of doctors across the world are signing up for a free app created by University College London called the iStethoscope.

[via The Telegraph]

emily | 2:51 PM | permalink

Wolfhound handset sniffs out inmates' cellphones

Bloodhound.jpg As cellphone jamming is, for the most part, still out of the question in US prisons, Berkeley Varitronics has introduced a handset called the Wolfhound that hones in on cell phone signals.

[Watch video demo on YouTube. via engadget]


-- Wolfhound 'Sniffs Out' Ten Contraband Cell Phones in Less Than 30 Minutes in Thai Prison

-- Cell phone detector dogs - The first dog to sniff cell phones was called Murphy, he was a 20 month-old English Springer Spaniel in 2006 who had been trained in prisons across the East of England.

emily | 9:58 AM | permalink

Cheap Mobile Phones Aren't the Whole Story in Emerging Markets

In depth interviews with low-income first-time mobile phone owners in Manila, Philippines show that basic no-frills phones will meet the needs of some emerging market consumers, but others want more features - and will pay for them. Cellular News reports.

quotemarksright.jpg With household incomes of US$200 a month or less, these consumers fall well below the median for metropolitan Manila.

"They obviously do not have a lot of money to spare," notes Tom Elliott, Director of EMCS and author of the study. "But if they want an international brand or a phone with a camera to take pictures of their children, they will find a way to get one." Buying second-hand phones or using informal installment payment plans are two reported ways to bring phone costs down to an acceptable level.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 9:53 AM | permalink

In India, BlackBerry Gets 2-Month Reprieve on Threat of Ban

The government said it would study and test a proposal by the BlackBerry maker for two months as it tried to settle a dispute over corporate e-mail.

[via The New York Times]

Related: A list of countries considering Blackberry ban

emily | 9:27 AM | permalink

The M-Banking Revolution

kenya_0.jpeg Foreign Policy on why cell phones will do more for the developing world than laptops ever could.

quotemarksright.jpgThe spontaneous and unplanned explosion of m-banking in the developing world has gone well beyond expectations. And the effects for development could be monumental.

M-banking began with the widespread use of prepaid cell-phone airtime as an informal currency. Migrant laborers across the developing world would text the serial numbers on prepaid airtime cards to loved ones elsewhere in the country; the recipients of the text messages would then sell the serial numbers to local mobile airtime vendors in exchange for cash, minus a small commission. By remotely selling their airtime this way, laborers were able to avoid taking long bus rides home to the countryside to hand over cash in person.

Three years ago, Safaricom, the Kenyan subsidiary of Vodafone, launched "M-Pesa," a mobile money-transfer service that essentially allowed vendors of mobile airtime cards -- there are apparently 100,000 such vendors in the country -- to institutionalize what they had been doing informally. M-Pesa wasn't the first service of this kind, but it has become the most successful by far. Today, M-Pesa has roughly 10 million customers in Kenya, 40 percent of the adult population. It's the top vehicle for money transfers in the country, with $10 million a day in transactions. Safaricom posted record profits in 2009, some $250 million. Other m-banking products that have met with surprising success are Celpay in Zambia and Gcash and Smart Money in the Philippines.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

Related: The behind-the-scenes logistics of Kenya’s mobile-money miracle

emily | 9:16 AM | permalink

August 30, 2010

Technology Aside, Most People Still Decline to Be Located

Big companies and start-ups alike — including Google, Foursquare, Gowalla, Shopkick and most recently Facebook — offer services that let people report their physical location online, so they can connect with friends or receive coupons. The New York Times reports.

quotemarksright.jpg ... But for all the attention and money these apps and Web sites are getting, adoption has so far been largely confined to pockets of young, technically adept urbanites.

Just 4 percent of Americans have tried location-based services, and 1 percent use them weekly, according to Forrester Research. Eighty percent of those who have tried them are men, and 70 percent are between 19 and 35.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 8:33 AM | permalink

August 27, 2010

Kids Text Every 10 Minutes When They're Awake

American kids under 18 send and receive roughly 2,800 texts per month, according to Nielsen, or about 93 per day. Assuming 7 hours of sleep per night, on average, that's about 5.5 per hour spent awake, or one every 10 minutes or so.

[via Business Insider]

emily | 2:29 PM | permalink

One Million Calls Placed From Gmail in 24 Hours


According to a tweet from Google, over one million calls were placed in the first 24 hours since the feature went live.

[via Mashable]

emily | 10:46 AM | permalink

Consumer Reports Says Mobile Payments Need Consumer Fraud Protection

According to ReadWriteWeb, The Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports, has called on the US government to issue regulations for the coming era of mobile payments just like it has for protecting consumers from credit and debit card fraud.

quotemarksright.jpg The group argues that while mobile payments backed by credit card may be protected under existing legislation, payments charged to phone bills or pre-paid deposits required for mobile commerce by some phone companies may receive no protection at all.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 8:45 AM | permalink

New iPhone app sends real-time alerts when airfares drop

WhenToFlyiPhoneApp.jpg Tracking airfare deals is getting easier for iPhone users, thanks to a new free app from the price comparison site that sends users real-time alerts when fares drop significantly on a chosen route. USA Today reports.

quotemarksright.jpg While several travel websites already alert travelers of fare reductions via e-mail, Facebook and Twitter, this is the first time such notifications have been "pushed" to mobile users via real-time, text message-like notifications, says FareCompare CEO Rick Seaney.

Travelers can set up price alerts - which will be sent up to six times a day - by picking a departure airport and month, and then choosing a U.S. or foreign destination from a drop-down menu in 17 categories that range from "top U.S./Canadian destinations" to "casinos."quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full review.

emily | 8:25 AM | permalink

August 26, 2010

Google Voice Telephone Booths Coming to an Airport or College Near You


Spotted on Mashable, a Google Phone booth.

quotemarksright.jpg In order to promote its new, cutting-edge calling technology, Google Voice integration with Gmail, Google is going retro with dozens of phone booths set to sweep the nation’s airports and colleges.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Related: - It's official, GMail now makes phone calls

emily | 4:02 PM | permalink

15%of consumers have made purchase with mobile device

Consumers are increasingly using their mobile devices to make purchases.jpeg An independent survey, which examined consumer preferences and attitudes surrounding mobile shopping, found that 15 percent of consumers have used their mobile devices to make purchases. Mobile Commerce Daily reports.

quotemarksright.jpg The age demographic with the highest usage was 25-34 with 21 percent of them making a purchase from their mobile phone.

Not surprisingly this is also the same demographic that had the highest percentage of smartphones,” he said. “The speed of mobile networks, screen resolutions and overall usability of the phones are increasing the growth of mobile shopping.”

This online survey was conducted by SmartRevenue in June/July 2010 and surveyed 3,611 male and female consumers ages 18 and older living in the United States. quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 3:47 PM | permalink

Major new FrontlineSMS release

Maasai tribesmen texting.jpeg Designed with the needs of the non-profit sector in mind FrontlineSMS is an award-winning free, open source software that turns a laptop and a mobile phone into a central communications hub. (Click here for much written about practical applications)

quotemarksright.jpg With this new release, FrontlineSMS allows you to receive multimedia messages via a standard email account. More complex than SMS messages, MMS can include text, images, video and audio. This is a massive step forward for FrontlineSMS, and opens the door for the first time to receiving photo, audio and video reports, medical diagnostics via MMS…and more user innovations.

Another keenly awaited new feature is the Reminders plugin from Dale Zak, which allows you to schedule email and SMS reminders for a specific date range and interval such as hourly, daily, weekly, monthly or by specific day(s) of the week.

Examples of practical applications include prompting patients to take anti-retroviral medication, reminding parolees to meet with probation officers, and helping special needs populations to live independently. Already, Babakan Sari Community Health Center in Indonesia has expressed enthusiasm for using the new feature for outreach to Tuberculosis patients.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more]

emily | 3:32 PM | permalink

Mobile Phone Designers Challenged to Keep up With Users

Mobile phone handset designers should look to social networking for inspiration to improve the management of communications on phones, says managing director, Dr Pieter Streicher. He maintains that many aspects of the mobile phone user interface haven't changed in ten years, especially contact management and SMS functionality.

Naomi Baron's 2009 study into mobile phone behaviour highlighted the "reachability conundrum" in consumers' attitudes to always being in touch. Reachability was one of the aspects of the mobile phone that users liked the most, and the least. People were finding it more difficult to separate their work life from leisure time. To help solve this, designers and manufacturers can learn from the way social networking platforms such as Twitter and Facebook allow users to manage their contacts, build lists and 'unfriend' or 'unfollow' people.

Read full press release.

emily | 3:26 PM | permalink

Cern Physicists Sing "The Particle Physics Song"

Not related to cell phones, just wonderful.

Cern Physicists singing The Particle Physics Song.

[via GearFuse]

emily | 9:41 AM | permalink

The growing security threat from mobile phone apps

It was only a matter of time, but it looks like mobile applications are now sufficiently ubiquitous to attract the serious attention of cyber criminals. Computer Weekly reports.

quotemarksright.jpg In June, Apple banned a developer after he hacked around 400 iTunes accounts. At the end of July we heard that 4.6 million Android users had downloaded a suspicious app that transmits data to a site in China. Other stories are starting to raise similar worries.

What these cases show, and what security professionals have long suspected, is that app store checks are far from foolproof, and mobile operating systems have vulnerabilities.

The problem, as is so often the case, is that neither mobile devices, mobile software, nor applications are designed with security as a priority. In the rush to get products to market and the desire to offer increased functionality, security is not given proper consideration.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 9:07 AM | permalink

Future Mobile Phones to Be Made from Cashew Nut Shells

Cashew Nut.jpeg We've heard of cell phones made from Cornflour, but now NEC says that it has developed a new form of bio-plastic that could be used for mobile phones.

quotemarksright.jpg It's 70% made from a mixture of cellulose, a main component of plant stems, with cardanol, a primary component of cashew nut shells.quotesmarksleft.jpg

[via Cellular-News. Image from WholeSaleBulk Spice]

emily | 8:55 AM | permalink

Juicing Up Laptops and Cell Phones with Cola Drinks or Vegetable Oil?

Scientists have reported development of a new battery-like device that opens the possibility that people one day could "recharge" cell phones, laptops, and other portable electronics in an unlikely way ? with a sugar fix from a shared sip of soda pop or even a dose of vegetable oil.

[via Cellular News]

emily | 8:50 AM | permalink

iPhones to monitor wheelchair performance

ELECTRONIC INPUT: Christchurch's Dynamic Controls has developed a device called iPortal, which allows iPods and iPhones to monitor an electric wheelchair's performance.jpeg Stuff reports on Dynamic Controls' device that iPhones and iPods to monitor an electric wheelchair's performance.

quotemarksright.jpg Chief executive Charlotte Walshe said the device, a small box that attaches to an electric wheelchair, can be used to monitor speed, or even detect a fault. It is believed to be the first medical device to make use of an iPhone.

"It makes the iPhone work like an virtual dashboard for your wheelchair," she said. The iPortal was already selling well globally and the plan would be to expand its functionality with updates through Apple's online apps store.

Eventually, the firm could transform the device into a diagnostic tool, creating an on-call call centre, which could respond to faults reported via iPhones and iPods. It does not yet work with iPads.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

Previously: - Power Wheelchair electronics displayed on iPhones

emily | 8:45 AM | permalink

Twitter backfires for Climate Camp

A climate camp activist drinks from a cup near the Royal Bank of Scotland headquarters in Edinburgh.jpeg No self-respecting NGO and campaign group would be seen these days without a Twitter account to spread the word (Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and WWF have over 200,000 followers between them for example). But Monday's day of mass action by the Climate Camp protesters showed just how badly Twitter can backfire. ... Supportive texts were swamped by tweeters ridiculing the activists or even pretending to be them.

Read full article in The Guardian.

emily | 8:26 AM | permalink

Morgan Stanley launches Institutional research app for iPhone

MorganStanleyResearchAppiPhone.jpg The Morgan Stanley Research App for iPhone allows institutional clients to view analysts work on more than 2,600 companies as well as fixed income and currencies, reports The Telegraph via FierceFinance IT. Risk-reward analysis and a variety of other research tools will also be available.

quotemarksright.jpg We're certainly seeing a lot of banks develop iPhone apps, but most of these have come in the consumer banking sphere--remote deposit, bill payment, credit card acceptance, that sort of thing. But it makes sense to develop apps at the institutional level. Perhaps we'll see more of this soon.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 8:04 AM | permalink

It's official: Gmail now makes phone calls

Gmail users can now make phone calls from within their accounts for free to the U.S. and Canada--and for pretty cheap to several other countries.

[via Cnet. GMail ad via LaughingSquid.]

emily | 7:53 AM | permalink

August 25, 2010

Primetime Emmys adds SMS program to engage TV audience

nixle-faqs.gif The Primetime Emmy Awards has added mobile to its repertoire with a new SMS program that engages television audiences in the run-up to its 62nd annual ceremony on Sunday, Aug. 29. Mobile Marketer reports.

quotemarksright.jpg Up to and throughout the program’s TV broadcast, viewers can text the keyword “EMMYS” to the short code 888777 to receive text messages straight to their mobile phone.

A button on the homepage reads, “Get the latest on the Emmys sent to your mobile phone. Text EMMYS to 888777.” quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 6:01 PM | permalink

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